• Personality Specific Dog Training

    Personality Specific Dog Training

    Man’s best friend can be a loyal and rewarding companion. Much like humans though dogs have personalities and emotions too. They feel fear and happiness, and just like all of us, some might be spicier than others. The reality is that a dog’s personality can have a major impact on how to train them. Certain dogs react better to training methods based on their behavior.

    Basic Training

    Dogs have different learning styles, just like humans or other mammals. They all benefit from structure, routine, and consistent enforcing of boundaries. Yelling, hitting, and other violent techniques are never the solution for any dog. Those actions only reinforce existing behavior problems or make them worse.

    Highly Sensitive

    These dogs learn quickly. They are tuned into the environment and read their owners like a book. They work well with positivity and forceful behavior. They need a quiet calm teaching environment, they are sensitive to a trainer being too high or too low.

    Examples of highly sensitive dogs:

    • Pit bulls
    • Border collies
    • Australian shepherds
    • German shepherds 
    • Most toy breeds

    Happy go lucky

    These dogs roll with you, the owner. Thick-skinned and generally very tolerant, they bounce back from rough situations. They’re good for novice owners because you can make mistakes and the dog won’t hold it against you. These dogs excel in active, bustling, loud households which is why these dogs are good family dogs. When training these dogs you must be straightforward and obvious. You’ll most likely have to repeat yourself often.

    Examples of happy go lucky dogs

    • Labradors
    • Golden retrievers
    • Bernese Mountain Dogs

    Creative thinkers

    These dogs need consistency and firmness more so than other dogs. The dogs may have different ideas than you have and will need to be reminded of what it is you want. These dogs are the ones that are likely to come up with their own rules. In training these dogs you teach them that you are the leader of the pack, the alpha. Give the command in a firm, low tone- not a questioning one. Be consistent when enforcing house rules and commands and don’t shrug off behaviors. If you aren’t consistent with these dogs they will make their own rules.

    Examples of Creative Thinkers

    • Your dog’s behavior is the best indicator and all breeds can have creative thinkers.

    Maintain a safe environment

    It’s important no matter what that your dog feels safe and healthy. When training, don’t expose your pup to dangerous situations where they are fearful. When a dog feels threatened and fearful it might respond with aggression. It can be difficult to consistently be aware of habits and environmental factors that may affect your dog’s behavior. One example is the research that shows dogs are more stressed in cluttered homes. That’s why it’s best to always train your dog in a safe and clean area with plenty of room.

    Final thoughts

    Learning about your dog and what works for them is the most important factor. Learn your dog’s temperament and then start to build trust with them. No matter what consistency and patience are key when training. Always use a calm but firm voice and reward positive behavior. 

  • The impact of dog ownership on mental health

    The impact of dog ownership on mental health

    What drives many people to seek out owning a pet is the desire to have a new furry best friend. But owning a dog comes with far more benefits than just a built-in friend. Owning a dog positively influences your mental health, even if you don’t think you need any help. 

    That’s because dogs can understand more than just the words we use. They pick up on our tone of voice, mannerisms, and gestures. And when they sense that something is off, your pet will try to help remedy that situation. This all stems from social recognition, which is a bond that forms between the dog and owner because both have identified each other as being significant to one another. 

    Want to learn more about the positive impact your dog will have on your mental health? Below we take a deeper dive into six benefits. 

    Dogs provide you with companionship 

    When people feel isolated or lonely, not only does their mental health suffer, but they are more at risk for depression. When these same individuals own a dog, they now have a feeling of being wanted and needed. There’s no better feeling than having your dog run up to you with their tail wagging, or simply petting your furry friend, as physical touch goes a long way in combating isolation. 

    Dogs help you meet new people 

    Whenever people pass a dog walking down the street with its owner, you’ll find that people always stop to ask questions and pet the dog. Beyond just walking down the street though, you now may meet fellow pet owners in pet stores or training classes as well. Having a dog allows you to form and maintain new friendships and even be included in a specific social group with people who have similar interests!  

    Dogs help you exercise more 

    Just like with a human workout partner, dogs help provide support and consistency with your workout routine. Whether you opt for taking a walk, hike, or run, you’ll find that you begin to simply exercise more than you previously did. When you exercise you are not only working out your body, but you are working out your mind and helping keep your brain healthy. Having someone else that you have to take care of will also incentivize you to be more active more often! It is easier to do something if you know it is going to benefit someone else as well as yourself.

    Dogs help you reduce anxiety

    Anxiety can be triggered by a variety of factors but having a dog can help combat some of these reasons you may experience stress. Dogs are free-spirited and live in the moment, which helps their owners find joy living in the present and helps them be mindful of where they are spending their time. On the other hand, if someone’s anxiety keeps them indoors, having a dog will help them go out into the world more, simply because they will need to meet their dog’s needs!

    Dogs add structure to your day

    Many don’t realize how a lack of structure can be detrimental to mental health. Dogs require routine feedings, walks, and more. Having your dog on a schedule will help bring you onto a regular schedule. This will force you to have to get out of bed each day to tend to your pet, which can help if you are feeling depressed, anxious, or stressed. 

    Dogs can fill your life with meaning

    If you opt to adopt or save a dog from a shelter, caring for this pet will provide you with a sense of fulfillment. This is especially beneficial for individuals who may have been struggling with finding meaning in their life previously. This is particularly true if someone goes through a big life stage such as retirement, or having children move away. When you adopt a pet, you’ll find that your life has a purpose for you again. 

    Choosing to own a dog is a personal decision and only you can determine if now is the right time for you. However, if you are experiencing any symptoms of mental illness, dog ownership has a variety of benefits that have helped many and could possibly help you too! 

  • Tips and Tricks for Do-It-Yourself Obedience Dog Training

    Tips and Tricks for Do-It-Yourself Obedience Dog Training

    Buying or adopting a dog are two of the most exciting things you or your family will ever do. There’s nothing like the feeling of bringing a dog home into your house or to meet your family for the first time.

     However, this new excitement tends to wane when a pillow is torn up or a mess is made on the floor. Smart pet owners train their dogs in the ways of obedience so they act more calm and controlled. If you need to train a dog, here are six tips and tricks to aid in the process. 

    Start Early 

    Whether you’ve adopted a week-old puppy or a five-year-old dog, you should start obedience training as soon as possible. Your new dog will learn your idiosyncrasies earlier this way and will be more likely to behave later on if you start it on a regiment of training earlier.

     If you’ve adopted an adult dog, you can take some time to learn what your dog already knows and areas of improvement it needs. This is just fine, but may take a bit more patience! Ask your shelter or adoption agency for this information; they won’t always have it, but if they do, it can save you weeks or months of unnecessary and redundant training. 

    Starting early helps your dog train both its body and mind in a timely, more effective manner. It is always easier to teach good behaviors than to unlearn poor behaviors that your dog takes to naturally!

    Remember Your Patience

    It would be easy to have your new fur friend ready to obey every command right away…  but where is the fun in that 🙂

    Training your dog will take a fair amount of time and patience. Dogs are erratic and have trouble focusing most of the time, but a healthy dose of love and patience will bring their attention back to you! 

     It will be easy to get angry at your dog if they don’t obey you the first time, but a short temper and flare-ups won’t help anything in this situation. In addition, your dog will feel safer and more trusting if you don’t yell or scold them outside the realm of reason.

     Keeping your relationship with your dog positive is incredibly important in the training process. Trust is the basis of training! And it always helps to consider how well you would learn if someone constantly scolded you for mistakes you were unaware of.

    Always Use Treats

    Dogs will do anything for food, and you can use this natural instinct to your advantage!

    If you have an ample number of treats in your pocket, you can feed your dog a steady supply of treats to keep them happy and focused. 

    Pavlovian training also works well, which is a process wherein you reward your dogs with treats after they perform a desired behavior. You should keep these treats by you at all times because you never know when you need to reward your dog.

    Try this when training:

    – Keep an eye out for your dog displaying behaviors intuitively like sitting or laying down and do not be afraid to give them a treat for it! While it is possible to overfeed your dog, you don’t need to worry about this when giving it the occasional positive reinforcement. 

    Always Reinforce

    Speaking of reinforcement, the number one way to train your dog is to reinforce the behaviors you want while punishing those you don’t. Modern dog training is based around the principle of reinforcement, usually Pavlovian in nature.

    Your dog can never get enough positive reinforcement when training; whenever it performs an action or demonstrates a behavior that you would like to be repeated, you should show positive encouragement of that behavior. This doesn’t always have to be through the use of treats; you can pet your dog and give it verbal words of encouragement as well. A simple “good boy” or “good girl” will go a long way! Just let them know you still love them even when they mess up!

    Training Should be Fun 

    While training is serious business for you and your dog, it doesn’t have to feel serious. You can engage your dog more easily and frequently by making the training sessions for both you and your dog fun to participate in. Utilizing learning games and going outside frequently is a great way to make training fun for both of you. Fun can be some of the best medicine!

    Many of the top dog trainers in the industry today, including Susan Garrett and Emily Larlham, recommend acting like the obedience training is simply another way to bond and play with your dog in a fun and laidback manner! Treat it all as play and your dog will respond much better! 

    The atmosphere and techniques you use don’t have to feel like they’re from an old, stuffy school. You can make the training sessions as fun as you want! 

    Training for the Vet

    Training your dog doesn’t just include training for your home. One of the most important elements of training your dog is teaching it to behave outside and in public; to keep your pupper healthy, you will have to train them to behave properly at the vet’s office. 

    Helping your dog relax and not fear the vet will ease its anxiety. It will also be a great help to your vet when checking up on your dog’s health!

    Many vets have what are called “happy visits” to help your dog associate the vet with positive associations. During these visits, your dogs could be given treats and other positive reinforcements. Check with your vet to see if this is a possibility!  If you can train your dog in an anxiety inducing environment, then at home when it is calm will be infinitely easier for obedience training! 

    To learn and do more about creating a happier, healthier life for your pup check us out at www.barkworthies.com 

  • Proper Pup Nutrition

    Proper Pup Nutrition

    Everything we need to know about feeding our dogs a healthy diet can be summarized as this… providing high-quality feed! 

    The dog food manufacturers out there have a range of different formulas, but all of them should contain the necessary nutrition for your dog because they are all trying to discover the best formula for you. On the other hand, there may not be the best formula. 

    Dogs of different breeds and sizes need different amounts of dog food and sometimes have unique dietary needs and recommendations. Animals that are pregnant or very young need lots of protein in their diet, while dogs at different ages or with various health conditions need specific formulas, including for older dogs or those with heart or kidney disease. 

    To learn what your pup needs, let’s review the requirements, benefits, and signs of good nutrition. 

    Happy and Healthy Requirements 

    Your dog needs amino acids from proteins, a good mix of carbohydrates, fatty acids, minerals, and vitamins, along with access to plenty of water. The amount needed can differ between brands, so check the packaging.

     Vets will also suggest more food when your pup is ill, or less as they get older. Proteins go to the muscles and help with energy! This vital element of their diet should be among the largest ingredients so they can repair and create cells in their hair, muscles, organs, and skin. We want healthy and pretty pups!!

    Animal bodies are made of protein and there are many amino acids in protein that your dog’s body cannot create, plus they’re a basic part of creating glucose. Dog owners that wish to feed their pup a vegetarian diet should include plenty of alternative protein and Vitamin D. 

    Growing puppies need 50 or more grams of daily proteins, while adults only need about 25 grams. Carbohydrates help with quick energy for an active dog and come from dietary fibers, starches, and sugars. The fiber in carbohydrates helps your dog’s digestive system absorb other nutrients in their food and move waste out… and make sure to take a doggy bag with you on those walks!

     Puppies need about 1000 calories per day, while adults need anywhere from 500 to over 2000 calories depending on activity and age. Adult dogs should not eat carbohydrates for more than half their total food. Summer is almost here and your canine wants a summer body too! 

    Fats allow your dog’s brain to work well and give healthy skin and fur, as well as convert to energy. Fatty acids move certain vitamins around the body and contribute to cell condition, while a lack of fats can make them prone to illness via skin breaks. Most of the fatty acids help skin grow healthy fur that doesn’t fall out, while omega-3 fatty acids specifically help skill development and prevent vision issues, itching due to allergies, or the dry conditions of cold weather.

     Puppies need over 20 grams of daily fats, while adults need about 15 grams or less. Minerals and vitamins go to the muscles and nerves along with fighting illness through the immune system and metabolism. Specifically, minerals help bones, muscles, nerves, and teeth do their job keeping your dog healthy, while vitamins prevent daily damage to cells in the bones, brain, eyes, heart, lungs, and skin.

    On the other hand, too much can harm a dog, such as excess Vitamin D being toxic or excess calcium creating bone growth issues. Pregnant dogs with an average litter of puppies need about 3 times the proteins and double the fats, while nursing mothers need over 6 times the proteins and almost 5 times the fats. Nursing dogs need about triple the calories as normal. 

    Always consult a vet for exact needs based on your dog’s breed, size, and needs!

     Benefits of proper nutrition

    When your pup eats, their stomach uses pepsin and lipase to break down fats and proteins, then the liver creates bile which also helps metabolize fats. The small intestine digests complex molecules while the large intestine ferments nutrients and takes in electrolytes and water. The basic reasons to provide your dog with the best food are to avoid illness, build and maintain muscle tone, repair bones, strengthen teeth, and otherwise live happy and healthy. Great smiles, great coats, and a great life for your doggo!

    Signs of Good Health

     A dog with a healthy diet should have plenty of energy and a thick, smooth coat of fur. Some research suggests they can tell when food doesn’t have the nutrients they need, which may cause them to not eat. Underweight dogs have visible pelvic bones, ribs, and vertebrae, and may have a noticeable lack of fat or muscle. Overweight dogs have more fat on their back and near the tail, with no visible waist behind the ribcage area. A healthy dog should be between these extremes. So make sure to keep an eye on your pupper so you know when they are getting all the good stuff they need!

    To learn more about adequate nutrition for your pup and to look at products that can help keep them healthy, click here.

  • Transitioning Your Dog’s Food and Treats

    Transitioning Your Dog’s Food and Treats

    Changing a human habit is no easy feat. Whether that’s altering your morning routine, changing your diet, or forcing yourself to go to bed earlier – training yourself to alter a behavior can take a lot of mental stamina. Unfortunately, the same is true for your pet. As much as we’d love to tell you that changing your dog’s habit is 10x easier, that sadly is not the case.

    When it comes to your dog’s diet, there are many reasons why you may need to make a change. Maybe your dog has a new food sensitivity or allergy, maybe your pet is entering a new life stage, or maybe your veterinarian has encouraged you to change your pet’s diet to help them to gain or lose weight. While making the switch may take time, there are steps you can take to make it a seamless transition. 

    Read on below to learn how you can best transition your dog’s food or treats.  

    Make the transition gradual

    When it comes to swapping out your dog’s food or treats, you’ll want to introduce the new food slowly. If you abruptly make the swap, your dog could be at risk for diarrhea, vomiting, or even a loss of appetite.

    To make the transition, do so over 5-10 days where each day you slowly increase the ratio of new food to old food. Use this transition model as a start: 

    • 75% old food with 25% new food for three days, 
    • 50% old food and 50% new food for three days,
    • 75% new food and 25% old food for three days, 
    • and then 100% new food. 

    Keep in mind this is only a guide, so your pet may require a longer transition (and that is completely normal)!

    Monitor their nutrition

    You know your dog best. That means if your pet is exhibiting a new behavior, such as being finicky or refusing to eat the new food, this may be a sign that they are not getting the nutrition they need or that you may need to slow down the transition rate or try a different food brand or base. If at any point you are unsure if your dog’s behavior is normal, consult your veterinarian.

    Examine their stool

    To ensure the transition is going smoothly, the best thing to pay attention to is your pet’s stool. If there are any major changes to the color or consistency, that could be an indicator of dehydration or constipation.

    Mix things up

    Once you’ve fully swapped out your dog’s old food or treats for a new brand, mix things up. Your dog may become bored and uninterested if mealtime is the same flavor every day. To keep your pet’s attention, opt for a variety of flavors within the same brand or try blending two parts dry food with one-part wet food. You can even elect to alter the proteins you give your dog or add broth or gravy to any dry food, which will still ensure your dog is getting the proper nutrients they need.

    Changing your pet’s food routine may not be easy, but it doesn’t need to be impossible. Consult with your veterinarian to choose an appropriate diet and the best brands for your dog. Your veterinarian is the best resource and knows your dog the best so use them! 

    Once you work with your veterinarian to determine the best brand for YOUR dog, then you can follow these tips to make the switch successfully. 

  • How to Choose the Healthiest Dog Treats and Chews

    How to Choose the Healthiest Dog Treats and Chews

    Most dogs will eat just about anything — and they definitely shouldn’t. Dogs can get very sick from eating people’s food. Even certain treats and chews made for dogs can be a bad choice: they’re full of fat and sugar, they may hurt your pup’s teeth or gums, or they just plain don’t last long enough. If you’re tired of your canine friend stealing your lunch or blowing through another bag of snacks, it’s time to rethink your choice of puppy treats. As with people, the health costs of junk food aren’t worth the yumminess… but there might be a way to reward your doggo AND keep them nice and healthy.

    What’s Up with Dog Treats?

    The keyword here is “treat.” Dogs love ’em because they’re packed with fat and sugar. And because they need to be shelf-stable, they’re often full of preservatives as well. Most of us give our pups a chew treat 2-4 times a week — more if we’re training them. That’s a lot of calories!

    And worse, they’re not even filling. They’re often puffed-up blends of corn byproducts with some meat flavor and high fat compared to protein..]

    That’s hardly the stuff your very good boy or girl deserves. As you may have noticed, your dog loves something they can chew on for a while. 

    Avoiding the Doggy Dentist…

    Our pups need healthy teeth just as we do. And just like us, dogs can develop plaque and gum disease. While you should definitely be brave and brush your dog’s chompers, the right treat can help ward off dental issues. 

    Sugary treats and dental health rarely go hand-in-hand. But a recipe that minimizes sugar and maximizes chewability is ideal for doggos. They love to chew, and it’s actually very good for them as it cleans off their teeth and gums. 

    The problem is that many long-lasting chews and rawhides can be harmful if they’re not made well. It’s vital to give your dog something to chew on, and edible chews are a wonderful treat. Just be sure to research the products and avoid anything that could easily splinter or break apart too soon. That not only cuts the fun time short but also presents a choking hazard.

    Why Your Dog Needs Healthy Joints

    Many dog chews incorporate vital nutrients. Your pup’s wild ancestors got everything they needed by hunting prey. Ultimately, processed dog kibble and treats are a refined version of what they’d get in the wild. 

    That means your doggo may not be getting all the nutrition they need. One key ingredient they’d obtain from wild prey is collagen. This is the stuff that lubricates their joints and helps their skin stay healthy. Just as in humans, collagen declines with age, so you should definitely make sure your senior dog gets some collagen-rich treats and chews. (Bonus: collagen makes them even chewier!)

    Wrapping Up

    It’s all too easy to grab the equivalent of junk food from the dog treats aisle at the pet store. But your canine friend deserves only the best: a long-lasting, high-protein, low-fat treat that also helps them stay active and enjoy their chewing habit. 

    For an excellent option, your pup is sure to love, check out Barkworthies’ delicious Backyard Barkers, featuring a collagen-rich, low-calorie dental chew that will (mostly) keep them from stealing your burgers! (We’re not making any promises.) 

  • Canine Fitness and Active Dog Month

    Canine Fitness and Active Dog Month

    Just like activity and movement for humans, canine activity and fitness are essential to the general health and wellbeing of your dog. Lack of movement and activity can lead to negative health outcomes for dogs, such as a higher risk of diseases like cancer and diabetes, difficulty breathing, sore joints, and more. Did you know April is Canine Fitness Month? The entire month of April is dedicated to raising awareness around the importance of canine fitness and activity.

    Below, we’ll explore the importance of physical activity for dogs and ideas to get your dog moving!

    April is Active Dog Month

    Have you realized your dog is not getting enough activity? It’s not too late to make some changes! Get involved with active dog month by encouraging your dog to partake in more physical activity, while enjoying the spring weather. Get active by exploring new parks and trails to take your dog walking or exploring a local dog park.

    Even better, physical exercise can tire your dog out, and encourage them to get great sleep. To promote awareness, tell your friends and family about active dog month to get their dogs moving too.

    Importance of Canine Activity

    Inactivity for dogs can manifest into health concerns in a variety of ways. Too much sitting, in combination with overeating or poor nutrition choices, can lead your furry friend to gain weight. In turn, this excess weight can put them at risk for unwanted health problems. Dogs are meant to run and move! However, many dogs have become sedentary, especially when not given the space and opportunity to get outside and get moving.

    Many poor health outcomes are linked to dogs with a sedentary lifestyle that is easily preventable! Taking the necessary steps to ensure your dog gets proper physical activity each day can greatly improve their health.

    Ways to Get Your Dog Active

    There are many fun ways to get your dog active to stay healthy! The great news about these options is they also encourage physical activity for humans, which is equally as important. Below are some easy ways to start increasing your dogs’ physical activity:

    • Go on a simple walk! Too often, dog owners neglect necessary walks. This is the easiest and simple way to get your dog walking and burning calories. If you don’t have time due to a busy schedule, many dog walking services are available to tackle this problem.

    • Play fetch with your dog. Using their daily allowance for treats, encourage them to stay active by running to fetch a ball or object. As a reward, you may give your dog a healthy treat.

    • You can also try one of many fitness games designed to get dogs moving. Your vet or local pet center may have creative ideas for this, as well as many online resources.

    • Obedience drills are also a great way to encourage physical activity for your dog. This could be things such as obstacle courses or tasks for your dog to perform. This can be done either indoors or outdoors, depending on the weather. The goal is to find any creative way to encourage fun and physical activity for your canine.

    This April, get involved and keep your dog moving throughout active dog month!

  • Breaking Down Dog Tik Tok Trends

    Breaking Down Dog Tik Tok Trends

    One of the best parts of scrolling through TikTok is all the dog videos. Our fave furry friends are social media stars with their energetic goofiness and all-around adorable vibes. We also love seeing the activity trends social-media-savvy dog owners get up to, but some of them are better for man’s best friend than others. Here’s our take on some of the latest TikTok trends for dogs.

    #1: Sharing Food

    We all know how much some dogs love the taste of our food. Begging for table food is a cliched dog behavior for a reason after all. However, you really shouldn’t be having your dog (large or small) join you at the table to share food. Not only does this set a precedent for bad behavior (do you really want your dog to want to sit at the table during a dinner party?), it also can set up poor eating habits.

    Your dog’s nutrition is a big deal. Good dog food has been carefully formulated to meet the nutritional needs of your pet; nutritional needs that are different than your needs.We have our food, dogs have their food. Except for maybe an occasional table treat, your dog should be sticking to their favorite dog food for their meals.

    #2: Sharing Needed Info

    Yes to this! All of these foods are, in fact, poisonous to dogs. This is another reason we are not huge fans of TikTok trend #1. In case you can’t see the video, the list of toxic foods are:

    1. Grapes & Raisins

    2 Onions & Garlic

    3. Nuts

    4. Milk & Dairy (not toxic but intolerant to some)

    5. Chocolate

    6. Peaches & Plums Pits

    7. Alcohol

    8. Candy

    9. Xylitol (sugar alternative)

    It’s important to understand what your dog can and cannot eat, especially if you like to sneak them human treats from time to time. However, it’s also important to fact check any information you get off of social media if it’s not from a verified account you trust. 

    #3: Cool Summer Treats

    Who knew dogs loved sno-cones as much as we did? If you can find a sugar-free sno-cone syrup, this is a great summer treat to share with your dog. Cool snacks on a hot day are a great way to help your pup regulate their temperature and keeping it sugar-free is the way to keep this treat a healthy one (just make sure the sugar-free snowcone syrup doesn’t have any Xylitol). Local ice cream shops may also stock dog-friendly ice cream treats during the summer months. If you want a DIY frozen treat, try freezing a cow hove stuffed with peanut butter as another snack.

    We know how much fun it is to show off your favorite good boy to all your friends and followers but it is important to keep their health and welfare in mind when you do. What are some of your favorite TikTok dog trends? We’d love to hear about them!

  • Dog Enrichment: Everything You Need to Know

    Dog Enrichment: Everything You Need to Know

    Ever wonder why you can’t seem to leave your dog alone without coming home to find something mangled, destroyed, or in the process of being chewed on? Does your dog seem to have excess energy even after their walk? Can your dog not get enough of playtime? If so, you may want to look at adding some enrichment activities to your dog’s routine.

    While dog enrichment isn’t a silver bullet for all misbehavior, dogs innately want to hunt and explore, things their wolf ancestors did every day, but their lives now involve set meal times and boundary-defined play areas. These two things are steps up in health and safety for your pet but can lead to boredom and looking for stimulation in other, less productive ways. Additionally, research done by zoos suggests that adding enrichment activities to an animal’s daily routine can lead them to be happier and healthier.

    Easy Dog Enrichment Ideas

    So what is dog enrichment? Dog enrichment just means adding variety to your dog’s life, whether it’s through a toy rotation, dog-friendly puzzles, or spicing up outdoor and walk time. In reality, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to add an element of enrichment to your dog’s daily routine.

    Purchase a puzzle feeder or puzzle toys.

    While it’s not the same as hunting, a puzzle feeder makes your dog work a little bit harder for their food, engaging their brain while slowing down their mealtimes. With designs available for wet and dry food as well as beginners and experts, there’s a puzzle feeder out there that will keep your dog entertained during mealtime.

    Puzzle toys are another great way to engage your dog’s mind during playtime or times when you are out of the house. These toys allow the dog to smell the treat inside but make them work for it by figuring out how to access the treat. This is a great alternative to hand-feeding your dog treats for the same reason as replacing your regular food bowl with a puzzle feeder, it engages their mind while rewarding them for their cleverness.

    Hide treats for your dog to find.

    Instead of buying a puzzle toy to get your dog to work for their treats, you can create a treasure hunt of treats for them to find. While this is a relatively simple enrichment idea, there is a right way to go about implementing it.

    You want to start your dog in a defined area such as one room in your house or a small part of your yard. This way, you’ll be able to easily clean up any treats your dog wasn’t able to find without attracting unwanted pests. Begin by leaving the treats in obvious, easy-to-find spaces until your dog starts to get the idea of the game. As you continue to set up treat treasure hunts, you can start hiding the treats in harder-to-find, but still accessible, places and expand the footprint of the treasure hunt.

    Rotate your dog’s toys so there’s always something new to them.

    Like many dog owners, you probably have a large stash of dog toys, only some of which are in your dog’s “frequently played with” rotation. An easy way to get the most out of this stash, extend the life of your toys, and create an enrichment opportunity is to keep a third of the toys out of sight at any given time. This will allow you to consistently add “new” toys to your dog’s toy basket giving them something new to play with regularly. It also allows you a good opportunity to inspect the toys for dangerous wear and tear.

    Switch up your walking route.

    If you’ve ever experienced the ability to completely zone out while driving because you know the route like the back of your hand, you’ll understand why, sometimes, taking the same route over and over can breed a dangerous sense of familiarity. The same goes for your dog’s walk route. If you take the same route over and over, your dog knows what to expect and isn’t exploring enough. Switching your route up by walking it backward or turning right instead of left before you start can engage your dog’s mind and nose in great ways.

    Another great enrichment activity is to take your dog somewhere new. Whether it’s to a new dog park, a different park with a walking trail, or the beach, the new environment will engage your dog’s brain and leave them pleasantly satisfied at the end of the day.

    Dogs are just as capable of becoming bored as we are. Adding in a simple enrichment activity to their daily routine is a great way to keep them happy and healthy, and save you some of the frustration that can come from working with a dog with too much energy to burn!

  • Are Rawhide Bones Bad for Dogs?

    Are Rawhide Bones Bad for Dogs?

    Rawhide chews are popular treats given to dogs by their owners. Rawhide bones have been around for years and years, but there are mixed reviews amongst pet owners. For dogs, chewing is an innate instinct. Depending on your dog, your dog may love chewing for hours on end! For that reason, rawhide bones are great for dogs. 

    In addition, chewing helps keep your dog’s jaws strong and their teeth clean. Dogs who chew on rawhide bones have less plaque and tartar build-up on teeth. However, there are some drawbacks of rawhide bones to consider.

    In this overview, we’ll explore the real ingredients in rawhide bones and provide some natural alternatives to consider. This article will help you make a more informed decision when choosing treats for your dogs.

    About Rawhide Dog Bones

    Rawhide dog bones are made from the inner layer of cow or horse hides. To make them, the hides are cleaned, cut, or ground. Then, they are constructed into dog treats in different shapes and kinds, some of which add extra flavor to make them appealing to your dog. 

    Some dog owners are concerned about the other ingredients used in rawhide dog bones. Most of these dog products are made in China using chemicals in the process. There is a risk of contamination with bacteria, such as Salmonella or E. Coli. You might not really know what ingredients are in your dog’s rawhide bones. Furthermore, traditional rawhide chews sometimes have bleaching agents or preservatives to enhance their freshness. Exposure to these ingredients may be problematic for some dogs.


    Another component to consider is the digestibility of dog bones for your dog. In general, dog bones can break off in large chunks and cause a potential hazard when swallowing. In addition, rawhide bones can sometimes cause serious obstructions in your dog’s digestive system. These chunks can stick in your dog’s esophagus or other parts of the digestive tract. For dogs with sensitive stomachs, rawhides may cause some signs of digestive upset. 

    In these instances, researching natural alternatives may be better to improve your dog’s digestive health. Many natural alternatives offer the same benefits as rawhide bones but are formulated to be easier to digest.

    Natural Alternatives

    Lots of natural alternatives exist for dogs if you are not comfortable giving your dog rawhide bones. Some dental dog chews are made from vegetables, such as sweet potatoes and carrots. Another option is bully sticks, which are free from chemicals and preservatives.  With proper research and a talk with your vet, you can certainly come up with several feasible alternatives to replace rawhide bones.

    Though some risks exist with rawhide dog bones, they can still be a safe option for some dogs. Your decision on which types of dog treat to use for your dog depends on personal preferences. In addition, it should also depend on your dog’s ability to digest rawhide bone ingredients. 

    However, we always recommend the most natural options for all of our furry friends. See our full lineup of completely natural options here.